It can be difficult for dog lovers to comprehend why they cannot take their beloved pets to a nearby beach, but the reality is many public beaches do have dog restrictions.
Well-behaved pups may be fine in any setting, but unfortunately, in some cases, a dog can be a nuisance to other families trying to enjoy the tranquility of a peaceful day at the beach.
Lazy dog owners who fail to pick up pet waste are the number one reason why many municipalities ban dogs on beaches, so it is imperative you do your part at dog friendly beaches to leave the beach as clean as you found it.
Also, owners must heed guidelines when there are certain areas where dogs must remain on a leash.
Our pets love basking in the sun and salt air as much as (if not more than) we do, and beach vacations are delightful for four-legged family members, too. Whether you are planning an afternoon picnic, a quick session of fetch, or a full week-long beach vacation in Massachusetts or the Cape Cod national shoreline, be sure to plan in advance if you want your dog to come along.
We have rounded up some of the best dog friendly beach locales in Massachusetts for you to consider below.
A two-hour ferry ride from New Bedford will take you and your dog to this quaint, pet-friendly island for a relaxing beach vacation. Cuttyhunk is roughly one mile wide and a half-mile long, with Vineyard Sound at its southern end and a view of Buzzards Bay to the north.
Dogs must be leashed in the residential areas and at Church’s beach, but generally, everyone welcomes dogs as long as their dog owners look after them! This is the perfect island for those who love a simple beach vacation, with no flashy strip malls or nightlife.
There are just a handful of simple places to eat and shop, leaving plenty of time to walk and explore with your dog, taking in the beautiful views and salt air.
Be sure you bring plenty of cash or your checkbook: there is no ATM on this small island. Many of the rental properties will negotiate a fee for pets.
Fishing charters are one of the favorite activities among visitors, and the museum is a great place to visit to learn more about the history of this beautiful part of New England.
On picturesque Nantucket, south of Cape Cod, families enjoy beach days spent at 40th Pole. Its small waves make it a favorite for those with young children, and dog owners delight in the fact that their canines are welcome here year-round.
The town asks that you do your part to clean up after your dogs, leaving the beach in the pristine condition visitors have come to expect.
You can get to the 40th Pole by car or on foot; there is a parking area adjacent to the beach and signage along the Land Bank Trail.
If you work up an appetite at the beach and find yourself searching for a delicious lunch in a dog friendly spot, be sure to visit Bartlett’s Farm, where pups are welcome as you dine outside. It’s an easy 15-minute drive from the 40th Pole.
And if your pooch gets her fill of the beach and you are looking for another spot to play, be sure to check out the Land Bank’s newly opened dog park.
This picturesque 2-mile beach in Martha’s Vineyard welcomes dogs to its shores in September before 9 am and after 5 pm. They can also play on the beach all day from October 1 to March 31. However, they are prohibited from April 1 to August 31, which is nesting season.
Protection of the local wildlife is of the utmost importance to this community and its municipal leaders; in fact, kites are even prohibited during the nesting season as they resemble predators to the nesting shorebirds.
There is a parking lot adjacent to the beach, but it fills quickly during the busy season, so plan to arrive early for a good spot. This is another great beach for small children as the waves are generally small.
Four-legged visitors are welcome at Nahant Beach Reservation in Essex County from September 16 through the end of March, a state park that boasts many amenities and serves as a wonderful place for dogs to play along the shore. Kids love the playground and athletic fields onsite, and there is also a picnic area, restrooms, first aid station, bandstand, and boat ramps.
Two miles of beach offer stunning views of Nahant Bay and Lynn Harbor; this is a wonderful place for walking, running, or relaxing by the water. The parking lot fills quickly, and it can be challenging to find spaces nearby, so it’s best to arrive early to get a paid spot.
Plymouth City Beach is a great choice for combining both history and nature in vacation activities. Here you can have dogs on the beach year-round (with some limitations outlined below), and you can also visit Pilgrim Memorial State Park, the site of Plymouth Rock, as well as the Mayflower II Museum, some incredible and iconic American landmarks.
Dogs at Plymouth City Beach can enjoy the full beach from October 1 to the end of March. Starting April 1 each year, dogs are restricted to specific areas through the end of September.
Those who vacation in this idyllic Cape Cod community enjoy letting their dogs run leash-free before 9 am in the summer, and they are allowed almost anywhere on a leash throughout the day except for protected bird nesting areas.
Provincetown also offers many other wonderful areas and activities for visitors with dogs, such as the Pilgrim Bark Park, Bay State Cruise Line Ferries, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
You will have no trouble finding plenty of space and time in Provincetown to explore, play, and just lounge in the sun with your beloved pup.
P-Town also has numerous restaurants and cafes that are dog friendly, including the popular Patio American Grill, with a special outdoor seating area for customers with dogs.
7. Revere Beach
Just five miles north of Boston, Revere Beach draws many visitors to its Annual Sand Sculpting Festival and is the first public beach in the United States.
This historic, recreational area is also a wonderful spot to run and play with your dog from late September through March. While visiting the beach, be mindful of the wildlife protection areas fenced off to protect the endangered Piping Plovers.
Parking is free for four hours along Revere Boulevard, and Kelly’s Roast Beef is a must-do on your Revere Beach vacation list, where legendary roast beef sandwiches (and many other delicious items) have been served since 1951.
With six miles of sand stretching along the Cape Cod Peninsula, this beach is a wonderful place for dogs to run and play from mid-September to mid-May. Amenities include restrooms and a snack bar, and there is also a parking lot adjacent to the beach.
Once you pack up after playing on the beach, if your active pup still has the energy to spare, head over to the Barnstable Dog Park (just 15 minutes away), which is well maintained with bag dispensers, water stations, and spacious play areas.
9. Nauset Beach
Nauset Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, welcomes pets on the leash, even during the busy summer months. This dog friendly beach is spacious and clean and has restrooms available and lifeguards on duty. You can also find great surfing and bodyboarding with the big waves at this beach.
10. Corn Hill Beach
If you like to watch the boats in the harbor while sitting with your furry friend, Corn Hill Beach is another dog friendly beach in Massachusetts to consider. Dogs are welcome on-leash before 9 am or after 6 pm during the summer months. Dogs are also welcome anytime during the off-season.
11. Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach is located on the Atlantic Ocean side of Provincetown. It is a dog friendly beach during the offseason between September 15th and May 15th. All dogs should be leashed at all times, and dog owners should always make sure the beach area is cleared and open during nesting season.
Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown has miles and miles of dog friendly beach, as long as they remain leashed at all times. The beach has large waves on the Atlantic side of the Outer Cape and is a popular place to watch sunsets.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.